Private housebuilder Gladedale this week expanded its board to integrate Country & Metropolitan, a listed rival that it bought and took private in March for £72m, writes Angela Monaghan.
Gladedale has made David Laing and Terry Roydon directors. Laing was Country & Met’s former chairman and Roydon was a director.
In a rare interview, Remo Dipre, Gladedale’s chief executive and chairman, told Building he planned to diversify more into mixed-use development. That would enable the firm to increase its turnover from £348m in 2004 to £1bn in two years. He added that he wanted to float the business once it had made it into the top 10 housebuilders.
In Building’s 2005 Top 100 league of housebuilders and contractors, Gladedale was ranked 15th in terms of turnover and 16th in terms of pre-tax profit.
Gladedale has been on the acquisition trail since it bought Furlong Homes in 2000 and Scottish housebuilder Bett Homes in 2003. Last year its bid for Countryside Properties was rejected by the Cherry family management but it was successful in a bid for Country & Met five months ago.
Dipre said that he was glad now that Gladedale’s bid for Countryside had been unsuccessful but hinted that it was looking at potential takeover targets. However, Dipre denied speculation that he was planning a bid for Fairclough Homes, which is up for sale at about £250m.
The company is considered one of the most aggressive in the market and is undergoing considerable change, not least in its geographical focus, which for the first time will be predominantly in England rather than Scotland this year.
Gladedale has already diversified into mixed-use development by acquiring Taylor Woodrow’s 50% stake in the £350m Quartermile scheme in Edinburgh. This will involve the conversion of the site of the former Edinburgh Royal Infirmary into housing, retail, leisure and offices.
Dipre said mixed-use work “enabled more opportunities to tackle big projects that require both commercial and residential work”.
Dipre, who is 70 years old and owns 100% of the company, said he was keen to grow its social and affordable housing business in the Midlands. He added that despite the fact that the planning system was a “nightmare”, he expected turnover and profit to rise this year.